Woman reclaims life 3 years after being set on fire, left for dead by ex-husband

Brenda Welch reclaims her life three years after being set on fire, left for dead by ex-husband. (KOMO News)

BOTHELL, Wash. (KOMO) - On Nov. 16, 2014, firefighters found Brenda Welch barely alive.

She had a fractured skull, smashed eye socket and burns everywhere.

She reeked of gasoline.

Welch's sweater was burned right off her body. Her face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and legs were all badly burned.

"I would have died right there," Welch said. "I know I would have if those firefighters didn't come when they did. They saved me."

She had been left for dead by her ex-husband, David Morgan.

Welch's boyfriend Chris Anderson said he was told that Welch was not going to make it to the next morning.

"It's just hard that someone did that to me and tried to take me away from my girls," Welch said, who has three daughters. "I hate him (Morgan), he is a horrible person."

Morgan was sentenced to a maximum sentence of nearly 22 years in prison for attempted murder, assault and arson.

The judge who sentenced Morgan said what he did to Welch was "actions of utter evil."

It's been almost exactly three years since good conquered evil.

"I'm a fighter," Welch said. "I don't think he knew how much of a fighter I was."

After countless surgeries over the last three years, Welch is back. She is working full time, has been cleared to drive again and said she feels like she's back in the driver's seat of her own life.

"I'm doing so much more than what he (Morgan) wanted," she said. "I'm sure he just wanted me to die in that garage."

Although Welch lost some of her hearing and much of her sense of smell and taste, in her classroom at the Kiddie Academy in Bothell, she insists she's better than was she was before the attack.

"This is my passion," Welch said surrounded by her class of two-year-olds.

Welch said she is starting to feel better about herself and loves what she does at work.

Three years later, Welch is empowered to face every detail of that near fatal night. But there are gaps and pieces she doesn't know.

"I have no memory of what happened, no memory at all," Welch said. "I don't even remember driving to the house."

Most of what she knows about what happened to her is from what others have told her.

"To see pictures of me in the hospital, you can't even recognize me," said Welch, pausing to collect herself seeing the graphic images.

She sees the burns on her back, the pieces of charred skin on her hospital bed, the tracheal tube in her neck, her head bandaged and her face swollen and red.

"That's horrible," she said.

Welch insists it's necessary to see all the photos and know all the details because she is determined to tell and write her story.

"I want to tell my whole story from the beginning to the end, because I want to help women or even men who go through domestic violence," she said.

Welch wants to call her book, 'Time To Leave Now.'

"Because of all the things that happened, that's when you should leave, but you don't," Welch said.

Welch said she regrets staying as long as she did in a bad marriage. She said she stayed because her first marriage ended in divorce, and she was determined to make the second one work.

"There are ways to get out, you have to get out or things will not improve," she said.

Even her youngest daughter, 10-year-old Kylie, who at one point didn't know if she'd get her mom back, realized the power of her mother's survival as an opportunity for someone else to take her mom's advice.

"I would let a lot of other people know that they can be strong enough to accomplish anything," Kylie said.

I asked Welch, the survivor, turned advocate, turned writer, for one final thought to finish this sentence: Brenda Welch is...

"Brenda Welch is a strong person," said Welch, who paused to reflect what she had just said..."Oh my gosh, thank you!"

The judge who sentenced Morgan said if he could have sentenced Morgan to life in prison, he would have.

Welch said the day she testified against her ex-husband was the most empowering day of her life because she let him know he failed.

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